Pharmacy technicians assist licensed pharmacists in filling prescription medication to health professionals or customers. For those who want to find better employment opportunities, getting certified is one surefire way of taking advantage of those opportunities. Certification programs for pharmacy technicians are monitored and accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
Pharmacy technician requirements
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that pharmacy technicians who have graduated from their course still have to comply with the requirements of the state board of pharmacy. The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) prepares the exam for the voluntary certification of these technicians. It oversees national certification exams as a private organization. Only those who completed 50 hours of certification program will be qualified to take the exam. These programs usually cover the history of pharmacy, pharmacy calculations, pharmacy medical terminology, pharmacy practice, basic knowledge about drugs, and reading and understanding prescriptions.
However, technicians who have a criminal record or who violated any of the policies implemented by the PTCB will be disqualified from taking the exam. All applicants for the certification process will have to pass the board’s background checks, meant to verify the information they have given and their eligibility for the exam.
The states differ in terms of the level of importance attributed to the certification. It is important for the applicants to know what the state board’s requirements are before starting with the certification process.
Pharmacy technician license and certification
While some states like Colorado allow pharmacy technicians without a license to work, states like California require all their pharmacy technicians to be registered or licensed. Virginia only certifies pharmacy technicians who passed the programs and exams accredited by the PTCB. It all depends on the requirements of the state.
To renew the certification, the pharmacy technicians must take five hours of continuing education every year.
The basic certification requirements, according to the BLS, include a high school diploma or GED, training program or formal education, criminal background check, exam, fees, and continuing education.
Pharmacy technician exams and future
The BLS also reported that aside from PTCB, the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) also provides a certification exam for pharmacy technicians. Applicants must be 18 years old or older, high school diploma holder, have completed a formal training program, and have worked in the field for at least one year. The association also requires pharmacy technicians to complete 20 hours of continuing education courses every two years to keep their certification current.
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) is an exam that can only be taken on a computer on-site. It has to be completed in two hours. It is a multiple-choice exam with 90 questions in all, although only 80 of them are scored questions. Exam takers will be given four options to choose from. The test score will be computed based on the correct answers to all 80 questions.
The PTCE was designed to evaluate the knowledge that is important to the work of a pharmacy technician that can be classified into nine domains, with different sub-domains. This is why it is important for aspiring pharmacy technicians to pass the exam to prove their competency to handle their future practice.